Google Should Buy StumbleUpon

About a month ago many speculated that StumbleUpon was for sale. EBay is asking for the equivalent of a king’s ransom, rumored to be $75 million. Given that StumbleUpon has revenue in the range of $5 to $7.5 million, the asking price is not completely unreasonable.

There are not many companies that can buy up something for that kind of figure that would be interested in a property like StumbleUpon. Do you really see a major media property, like News Corp, buying StumbleUpon? That is highly unlikely because media companies like to focus traffic on their site, not point people to other sites. It is also different than the case of Digg, Mixx and Reddit, where the aggregation and discussion of content is more important than where the content is located.

So, who could be a potential buyer of StumbleUpon? Several people have wondered about it and a few had settled on Digg as the best bet. Svetlana Gladkova of Profy thinks a Digg and StumbleUpon merger makes sense:

Of course merging the two properties could result in incredible synergy effect where the ultimate destination for web content discovery could be born. What’s more, I can hardly imagine anyone actually managing to beat such a joined social media giant – so we will probably see no “killers” for a while at least.

Merging the two sites does create a significant barrier to entry in the field. Sites like Mixx and Reddit would need even more functionality to compete. Om Malik feels similarly about a Digg acquisition of StumbleUpon:

Despite all the hoopla around social media, only Digg and StumbleUpon have been breakout hits. A combination of the two would create a social media powerhouse that would be hard to beat. With its ability to find and curate some of the most popular online content into various categories, Digg has a presence on the web that few can match. The problem with Digg is that despite its efforts to expand into other verticals (such as politics), it is still too technology-centric. And the most popular stories don’t necessarily mean the best or most relevant content.

I understand what Svetlana and OM are saying, but I am not sure if it makes sense from the community perspective. Digg is very much about aggregating the top content in a particular topic. StumbleUpon is more about discovery of interesting things. It would take some time to really get the communities to converge. So, if a Digg and StumbleUpon merger does not make sense, then who else is likely?

Google Stumble

Enter Google. Google has the cash to make a $75 million purchase. They have already expressed interest in getting into the social media field with their abandoned Digg acquisition. They do not already have anything similar in their product suite. Most importantly are the possibilities that arise when a StumbleUpon and Google Reader integration are looked at. Google Reader is quickly becoming the standard of RSS readers. There is already a recommendation feature available, but what if the recommendations came from your StumbleUpon profile and the social connections there? Blog discovery would almost be too easy. StumbleUpon gets the integration of RSS as well. Think about when you stumble. Often someone has stumbled a particular page on a site. What if a recommendation popped up that stated the RSS feed for this site’s blog is similar to other blogs you read and several of your favorite stumblers also read the blog?

The other benefit from this acquisition would be the fact that Google would not need to do anything right away. They could purchase the property and leave it on autopilot for a while, not changing anything. StumbleUpon could remain a fairly independent entity while the integration is worked out, and Google gets some more revenue. I can not find any reasons for Google not to do this. It just seems to work and make too much sense.

Do you think Google Stumble is a good idea?

27 thoughts on “Google Should Buy StumbleUpon

  1. Quote: “Google would not need to do anything right away”

    – hehehe, well when has Google ever been known for doing anything right away? certainly never when addressing the acquisition of a web application… oh wait, they actually would do one quick little thing right away… destroy it’s value and lock it in a vault.


  2. Matt,

    That was actually my point, not needing to do anything is playing to their weakness. Given that SU has paying customers (sponsors), they will not lock down the app either, unlike what they did to jaiku.


  3. I think SU would be a great acquisition for Google. SU in it’s present state is already integrated nicely with Google, via the serps from the SU toolbar. It would be a perfect fit for Google.


  4. Mike,

    Imagine what they could do with the data generated by both StumbleUpon and Google Reader. Integrating those two apps would be really interesting.


  5. Rob, actually in my own post the ending statement was that the merged Digg – StumbleUpon social media giant could be a great acquisition target for Google as well but for other reasons than what you quote in this post. The thing is that Digg and StumbleUpon together aggregate an enormous amount of user-generated ratings and reviews for various types of content online which could be used to help determine rankings for various web properties – thus making human-powered search a reality without making users vote one more time, this time in Google. I just think that Digg/SU combination could be more appealing than SU on its own.


  6. Svetlana,

    The main reason I wrote this piece is because I feel Digg is losing value as an acquisition target. As you say, SU has much to gain by joining forces with Digg or even Google. The only real question remaining is what is the price that will actually be executed on.


  7. I would love to see my google and stumble toolbars meld into one glorious customizable set of buttons for my browsing pleasure…Oh the joy! Thumb it up!


  8. The best road plan (I understand nothing with that phrase has come to fruition) is for Digg and SU to merge, and Google can buy that property, though the two would be powerful enough to pull a Jerry Yang and tell Google to go where the sun doesn’t shine.


  9. @romabit, I am not sure if it is that exciting, but it sure is interesting.

    @Sani, my only issue with Digg and SU merging is that the communities are very different. Conceptually, the idea of diggs and stumbles is fantastic, but the combination of the software may be more difficult than people expect.

    @Josh, thankfully Google can’t own everything. Maybe just the good parts though.


  10. You know, I thought about this last night while I was watching a lot of traffic flow into my site through StumbleUpon and I realized how powerful this was. I’m suprised there haven’t been bids on it already by some of the giants. Google does seem like a good fit in my opinion. I use Reader every day and it would be nice to have suggested blogs based on stumbles.

    Michael Cummings


  11. Indeed, the question is how you think stumbleupon will change. Will Google Toolbar contain the stumble link then ? I bet the toolbars will merge, a lot of people will be out of jobs in the already butchered economy.


  12. no keep google out of it. They’re already spread too far, if they bought stumbleupon you can bet that there would be a lot of cracks in the walls. There would be a sudden increase in spam from all the marketeers trying to get in because they think Googles ownership over it would somehow relate to better rankings.


  13. I dont think SU will sell for Google…It has strong revenues and brand value to build upon and grow..

    Google buying everything will make it a monopoly and we have to see the likes of Microsoft again


  14. Google has no reason to buy anyone. They already have their own social bookmarking in place with Google reader.

    When they FINALLY release FriendConnect they will put the final piece in place. FriendConnect will be on Blogger blogs soon and then MAYBE Google will get off their butts and let us WordPress guys have a shot at it.

    Meanwhile Facebook Connect is looking better and better. I am extending my Facebook reach as I expect things to change for the better on Digg as well when Facebook Connect connects the two profiles together.


  15. Rob, I do hear what you say and I know that Digg is definitely rapidly losing value by making it less and less dependent on the wisdom of crowd. But from my experience StumbleUpon can be manipulated similarly to Digg (and I know many bloggers who engage in such manipulations) so of course to actually rely on any of the resources for human-powered search Google will need to fix the algorithms to reach some totally “ungamable” state which I doubt is possible. But anyway sometimes both offer certain value so this value integrated into search experience could be more valuable than it is when independent.


  16. I’m sure Google has enough funds in their pocket to make a sweep here. StumbleUpon & Google Reader integration sounds great to me and as of late Google is showing a lot of interest in new investments, this could be a really good one.


  17. @Valeria,

    Google Reader already will integrate your social bookmarking friends profiles, just add their RSS feed from their submissions page to Google Reader.

    This is how I currently follow all my social friend’s profiles. This is also how most top social bookmarking users do it as well.

    What we are waiting for is Google Friend Connect to roll out since it is the glue that will hold the rest together. Until that happens we are just using the pieces, not the whole pie.


  18. […] Google Should Buy StumbleUpon – Regular Geek – view page – cached If a Digg and StumbleUpon merger does not make sense, then who else is likely? Enter Google. Google has the cash to make a $75 million purchase. They have already expressed interest in getting into the social media field with their abandoned Digg acquisition. — From the page […]


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